U.S. retail and food service sales edged up 0.6 percent in May 2013 to $421 billion, according to the latest seasonally adjusted retail report from the Census Bureau. This accelerated from a 0.1 percent increase in April and extended growth to a second month. The retail sales-to-inventory ratio, also seasonally adjusted, hit its highest level since July 2009 in April.
May’s sales value were up 1.5 percent from the level in January, when it was $415.1 billion. Year-over-year, sales accelerated further in May to 4.3 percent growth, up from 3.7 percent in April. Year-over-year changes have been consistently up since October 2009.
Retail sales saw eight months of slight increases, with the exception of October, which was flat, before declining in March. Sales in the first five months of 2013 totaled $2.1 trillion, up 4 percent over the same period in 2012.
The U.S. retail inventory-to-sales ratio, which is reported one month behind retail sales, hit 1.41 in April 2013, up a 0.01 percentage point increase from March and a 0.04 percentage point from 1.37 in April 2012. This is the second straight increase over the prior month and the 13th consecutive year-over-year increase.